Title: Head of U.S. Public Finance Origination
Firm: Rothesay Asset Management
Michelle Estes has an extensive array of experience in the municipal bond market and is currently using that to hone her position as head of U.S. public finance origination and portfolio manager for the municipal credit portfolio at Rothesay Asset Management North America.
Michelle assists in developing and scaling investment theses in U.S. public finance and originating unique market opportunities for Rothesay Life, a U.K.-regulated insurance company.
Before joining Rothesay a little over a year ago, Michelle was head of credit on the municipal sales and trading desk at Goldman Sachs, where she began in 2013 as a public finance healthcare analyst, and later became a vice president in municipal credit, sales and trading before leaving the firm after a little over seven years.
While at Goldman, she was head of credit research and covered high-grade and high-yield credits and dealt with the firm’s institutional clients.
Michelle started her career in municipal banking at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey from 2012 to 2013 where she was an investment banking analyst and generalist.
Her interest in the municipal bond market was sparked in 2010 when she worked for an Arizona-based healthcare real estate investment firm.
“There, my focus was on sale leasebacks, which, as a financing mechanism, is often viewed as a competitor to tax-exempt financing,” the Rising Star said.
“From that lens, I found myself following tax-exempt market dynamics and interfacing with health system CFOs and public finance bankers,” she said.
The opportunity led her deeper into the public finance space, she said, and became a stepping stone on her path to a career in banking at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.
“Working on my first project finance transaction for an existing facility in Louisiana and the accompanying site visit accelerated my interest in the space as I witnessed how munis are at the heart of American infrastructure,” she said.
Looking back, she said a big part of what drew her into the municipal market, and continued her dedication to the asset class, was the people.
“I began developing relationships with institutional investors, issuers, bankers/advisors, dealers, rating agencies and the legal community while at Goldman, and I am fortunate that at Rothesay I can continue growing these relationships,” she said.
Outside the municipal bond market, Michelle is highly active in sports, travel, and community service.
An avid skier and tennis player, she is also a budding artist, as she documents her and her husband’s trips to different countries by sketching the scenery from the different destinations in oil pastels.
Also active in her church community, Michelle is part of a group that hosts a small weekly dinner to build relationships and a sense of purpose in a relatively transient area.